Watch the moment hostage was discovered in the back of a transit van after being abducted and blackmailed
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A video has been published showing the moment police discovered a hostage in the back of a transit van after he was abducted and blackmailed over an unpaid debt. Police found the man in the back of the van after questioning the driver who was stopped leaving a travellers site in Cambridgeshire.
Darren McLean, 38, was behind the wheel of the van on July 16, 2020, when he was questioned by officers. As they search the van, a man is found in the rear compartment, with body cam footage showing the victim lying on a mattress before being freed by the arresting officer.
At first, McLean claimed the victim was a friend of his. But it quickly transpired that was not the case as the man reported he’d been threatened with violence and racially abused.
McLean was found guilty of two charges of conspiracy to blackmail and one count of conspiracy to falsely imprison in January this year. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and received another five years for unrelated offences.
Staffordshire Police said that Wood Green Crown Court heard how two brothers from Stoke-on-Trent travelled to London in July 2020. There, they were subjected to blackmail threats, and in the days that followed, mobile phones were used to demand over £300,000 to secure the release of one of the brothers.
These demand calls continued for the next few days until armed police stopped a yellow transit van leaving a travellers’ site in Cambridgeshire on July 16. As officers approached the van, McLean was smashing up a mobile phone in an attempt to get rid of the evidence before the victim was found in the rear.
Deputy Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant Garry Jackson said: “This was a terrifying experience for the victims. It also had a profound impact on their family members and friends. The investigation was incredibly complex and involved a number of police forces who supported our efforts, including the Metropolitan Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
“I would like to thank all of the officers and staff involved from Staffordshire for working tirelessly on the case. As a force we are committed to tackling and disrupting organised criminality. We’re pleased that McLean will now be serving a substantial sentence which reflects the seriousness of this disturbing crime.”